Our shopping spree at Plaza Las Americas was at best a qualified success, so after lunch we sprinted back to the car and drove hell for leather to the Discount Furniture Outlet on the outskirts of San Juan.
This outlet, where we had bought some of our favorite pieces of furniture the year before, including the corner cabinet Daniel had somehow managed to misplace…
…consisted of a warehouse crammed to the rafters with a vast array of mostly contemporary furniture and shoddily constructed knock-offs of modern Italian design…
…with the odd traditional or Caribbean-influenced piece tossed in for good measure.
The hideousness of most of the merchandise made shopping at the Discount Furniture Outlet remarkably easy—we were able to power walk through whole sections of the store with barely a comment except for the occasional shriek of horror.
Our spirits sank as we sped from room to room.
Then, just when it seemed like we were destined to go home empty-handed (what would we do about a dining table, so easy to find at home but so stunningly expensive to ship to Puerto Rico?), we rounded a corner and there it was—a handsome Balinese-style carved mahogany table and six cane-back chairs.
Maybe a little darker than we had in mind but perfectly in keeping with our décor. And marked down!
Lurking prominently nearby, as if they were just hoping we’d take them home, were a handsome teak coffee table and a side table in a similar style. Riding our little wave of victory, we rounded the final corner and came across the perfect bookcase for the upstairs great room.
Barely believing our last-minute luck, we paid up, arranged for shipping and were back at the airport with time to spare.
Despite our streak of good fortune, there was still the problem of a sofa for the newly-renovated downstairs. On the sunset flight back to Vieques I allayed my fear of flying by obsessing about this problem.
Needless worry is such a handy distraction sometimes.
Certainly there was nowhere on Vieques to buy a sofa, and shipping a sofa from D.C. was as much out of the question as shipping a dining table—maybe even more so.
Michael, as always, worked hard to soothe my anxieties. Maybe Jane could locate a sofa of some sort and we could have neutral slipcovers made for it until we found what we really wanted.
Or maybe we could round up two or three easy chairs from other parts of the house and arrange them downstairs so that the absence of a sofa wasn’t immediately noticeable.
“After all, who demands that their rental house contain two sofas?” Michael asked rhetorically, while no doubt suspecting that I was, in fact, just such a person.
All the same, I appreciated his efforts to haul me back into the land of reality and agreed that the problem could be solved one way or another.
But I didn’t sleep that night.
But that’s the way I’m put together.
When I was twelve, I woke up early one morning and realized that I detested the furniture in my bedroom and couldn’t stand it another minute. While my parents snoozed away downstairs, I found a bucket of white paint and whitewashed everything in the room.
Horrified at first, my mother later admitted that it was an improvement.
I’ve been on a roll ever since.